(Written by Yerra Praggada).
In Kishkandha, Sugreeva was enjoying royal pleasures while Rama and Lakshmana were spending time in a cave in Malyavanta mountain. The winter season was over. There was no response from Sugreeva.
"Lakshmana! Sugreeva might have forgotten us and spending a luxurious
life. You proceed to Kishkandha and remind him about us. If he has done
any arrangements to make a search for Sita, bring him here. Otherwise,
kill him." ordered Rama.
"Lakshmana! I am not such a foolish fellow to forget the word given to Rama. I have already sent Vanaras to all sides with specific instructions to return back within one month. Still there is five days time for their return. Soon after I get any information about Sita, I will myself come to Rama and inform him." said Sugreeva.
Lakshmana satisfied with his reply. Lakshmana along with Sugreeva went to Rama and informed him what had happened. Rama also satisfied with the reply given by Sugreeva.
All the Vanaras went to all sides returned with empty hands except those who went to southern side. One month time given by Sugreega expired. Still there is no response from southern side.
One day, Sugreeva received information that Angada, Hanumanta and other Vanaras. who were sent to southern side, were spoiling the garden called Madhuvan, eating the fruits, breaking the branches and jumping on the trees in a joyous mood. Sugreeva thought that they might have got some useful information about Sita. He sent for them.
Angada, Hanumanta and others stood before Rama and Sugreeva. On behalf
of all, Hanuman told thus:
"Kindly tell me who are you. You are talking about Jatayuvu. He is my brother. My name is Sampati. Once myself and Jatayuvu flew upto Sun. My wings were burnt away and I fell down here. Since then, I am staying here. Kindly tell me if you know anything about my brother, Jatayuvu." asked Sampati.
Then I told Sampati about Ravana abducting Sita and the attack of Jatayuvu and also about Ravana killing Jatayuvu. He felt sad about the death of his brother Jatayuvu.
"I know about Ravana. He is a Rakshasa. At a distance of 100 Yojanas, there is a City called Lanka. Ravana is the Ruler of Lanka. You may find Sita in Lanka" said Sampati.
In fact, none of us are capable of jumping over the sea and reach Lanka. But with the grace of my father, Vayu Deva, I could get that strength. I jumped over the sea and reached Lanka. I searched for Sita at several places and found her in a garden called Ashoka Vana. I introduced myself to Sita told her about your welfare, and also about your friendship with Sugreeva.
At the inception she did not believe my words. I told her that I am not Rakshasa. After some time, she told me "Hanuma, Rakshasas are moving in so many forms. Hence I suspected you. One Rakshasa Lady, Trijata also told me about Sugreeva, the king of Vanaras. I trust you. Please take this ornament and give it to Rama. On my behalf, kindly request Rama to come over to Lanka and take me away with the help of Sugreeva." Sita told me with tears in her eyes. Sita also told me about the incident of a miracle crow happened on ChitrakooTa mountain. Hanuma gave the ornament given my Sita to Rama. Rama hugged it to his heart.
" Sugreeva! please make arrangements to proceed to Lanka and rescue Sita." said Rama Sugreeva sent word to all the Vanaras on the earth. Vanaras were flooding to Kishkindha in thousands and lakhs. Vanara warriors viz, Gavaya,Gaja, Kumuda,Sushena arrived Kishkindha with crores of Vanaras. Jambavanta, a bear, arrived with his army.
On an auspicious day, Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Angada, Hanuma, Jambavanta along with their army proceeded towards Lanka. Hanuma was the Chief of Army. Angada, Neela, Nala were helping him. The entire army reached the sea shore.
"Sugreeva find out a way to cross the sea with this mighty army" asked Rama. Some suggested to fabricate small boats to cross the sea.
"It is of no use. Our army is mighty and innumerable. It is not possible to fabricate such huge number of boats. Besides that, while we were crossing the sea on boats, our enemies never keep quiet. They will drown us in the sea. I will tell you another plan. I will worship the sea god, Sagara. Without the help of sea we cannot do anything. If the sea does not come down to help us, I will dry up the sea with my arrows" said Rama.
Rama began to worship Sagara with utmost devotion. Sagara (sea god) came down to Rama.
"Sagara! You have to give way for us to cross the sea" requested Rama.
"Rama! I will never cause any obstruction to you and your army while crossing the sea. Today, if I give way to you, tomorrow every person by using his power and strenngth, will try to subdue me and demand me to give way to the otherside. In your army, there is one vanara called Nala. He is an engineer and architect. With his help, you can build one bringe on the sea. I will manage that every stone thrown by him in the sea will float on the water." said the sea god.
Rama called Neela and ordered him to construct a Setu (bridge) over the sea. Nala constructed a Setu measuring 100 Yojanas long and ten yojanas wide.
In the meanwhile differences arose between Ravana and his brother Vibheeshana. Vibheeshana was exiled from Lanka. He came to Rama and sought his refuge. Rama promised to help him.
Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and the entire Vanara Army crossed the sea over the bridge constructed by Nala and reached the City of Lanka. Sree Rama went up the Chitrakoota hill and gave directions to the army to erect Army Tents around the City of Lanka on four sides.
Suka and Saarana, the spies of Ravana, in disguise as Vanaras, mingled in Vanara army and collected all the vanara army secrets. Vibheeshana identified them as spies and caught them. Rama excused them and sent them back to Lanka.
Suka and Sarana went to Lanka and informed Ravana about the mighty army of Rama and it was highly difficult to conquer Rama. Ravana made all arrangements to protect Lanka from the invasion.
Rama sent Angada son of Vali, to Ravana, as emissary, for requesting Ravana to send back Sita to Rama with apoligies.
Angada went to Lanka, met Ravana in his Court, and said: "Ravana! Rama asked me to inform you like this:
'You killed many sages and saints who were performing Tapassu in forests. You brought several divine ladies as hostages. You have committed several atrocities. You have abducted my wife Sita and committed a great blunder. Only two options are left to you. Surrender Sita to me with apoligies or meet me in the war front. There is no other way. You are not afraid of human beings. But I will reduce the strength of Rakshasas to nothing. Take care" said Angada on behalf of Rama.
At the instigation of Ravana, some Rakshasas tried to catch Angada. But Angada jumped on them, killed them and ran away. He went back to Rama and told him what had happened. Sri Rama declared war on Ravana. The Vanara Army surrounded the city of Lanka and drove away the guards of Lanka. Ravana also sent his army to fight with Vanaras. Rama and Lakshmana also entered the war. There was a big fight between Vanara army and Rakshasa army.
Rakshasa army was indulging in miracle war. Now Vibheeshana, who is wellversed and an expert in miracle war, entered the war front and killed all raakshasas. Rakshasas informed Ravana about the fighting of Vibheeshana. Now Ravana himself entered the war. There was a war between Rama and Ravana.
Lakshmana attacked Indrajit, son of Ravana, with powerful arrows. Unable to control Rama's arrows, Ravana returned back to Lanka. Ravana sent another hero Prahasta to war. Vibheeshana killed Prahasta with his Sakti. Dhumraksha replaced Prahasta. Hanumanta attacked Dhumraksha. Rakshasas could not stand before Hanuman and fled away. Hanuman killed Dumraksha. Ravana was very unhappy on hearing that Prahasta and Dumraksha died in war.
He ordered to wake up Kumbhakarna who was in deep sleep by blowing horns, beating trumpets, etc. Kumbha karna woke. Ravana said to Kumbhakarna.
"You are having a sound sleep. I am striken with all woes. I abducted one Sita, wife of Rama son of Dasaradha. Rama came upon me with Vanara army. Our heroes Prahasta and Dhoomraaksha were killed in war. Hence it is time for you to enter the war field. Vajra Vega and Pramasha will be by your side" said Ravana.
Kumbhakarna immediately went to the war field. On seeing the huge and
fiercest personality of Kumbhakarna, vanaras were frightened. Kumbha Karna
was proceeding towards Rama and Lakshmana. Vanaras made a vain attempt
to stop Kumbha Karna. Lakshmana hit Kumbha karna with his powerful arrows.
Lakshmana cut the two hands of Kumbha karna. Four hands were generated.
Again Lakshmana cut his four hands. Again he got the same hands. Lakshmana
launched Brahmaastra to kill Kumbha Karna. Kumbha Karna was killed by
At that time Megha Nadha (also called Indrajit) son of Ravana, told Ravana "Kindly send me to the war field. I will catch Rama and Ravana and bring them before you." said Indrajit. Ravana was very happy and blessed his son.
Indrajit entered the war field. He attacked Lakshmana. Both were fighting. Angada hurled a big tree towards Indrajit and killed his chariot driver. Indrajit flew away into the sky. Indrajit began to fight from sky invisibly. Rama and Lakshmana hit Indrajit with Sabdavedi arrows but in vain. Indrajit launched Naagaastra and tied Rama and Lakshmana with Nagaastra. Both Rama and Lakshmana fainted. Sugreeva, Sushena, Jambanata and other Vanaras were sitting around Rama and Lakshmana in grief. Vibheeshana arrived there He launched Brahmaastra and and rescued Lakshmana. Rama and Lakshmana gained consciousness. Sugreeva applied Visalya Karani and removed all the poisonous remains from the bodies of Rama and Lakshmana.
In the meanwhile, Kubera, through one Svetha, sent some miracle water. "Rama and Lakshmana, Kubera sent some miracle water. If you wash your eyes with that water, Indrajit will be visible to you" said Vibheeshana. Rama and Lakshmana appied that water to their eyes. They could see Indrajit fighting in the sky. Lakshmana attacked Indrajit and cut his two hands with arrows and cut his head with a spear. Indrajit fell on the ground and died.
On hearing the news about his son's death, Ravana could not control his grief. He thought that Sita was the root cause for all this. He took out a long knife and went to Asoka Vana to kill Sita.
Avindhya, the old Rakshasa stopped him. "Ravana! You are a valiant hero. You conquered Indra. It is not proper for such a hero to kill an ordinary lady. It is shameful. If you are so powerful, you can attack Rama and win the war. By killing an ordinary woman you will not get any fame." said Avindhya.
Ravana became wise. He went to the war field to attack Rama. War between Rama and Ravana began. Indra sent his divine chariot, Vaijayanti along with the chariot driver Matali to Rama.
"Rama! Indra by using this chariot, conquered all the demons in Deva Danava war. You also use this chariot and kill your enemies." said Matali.
Sri Rama boarded that chariot. Matali was driving the chariot. Rama killed Ravana with Brahmaastra. The entire universe was very happy.
Avindhya, followed by Vibheeshana, brought Sita and handed over to Rama. Rama looked at Sita.
"O Sita! it is not just and proper on my part to take back my wife, Sita who was in the custody of my enemy for a pretty long time. I killed Ravana only to wreak vengeance and also for his misdeeds but not for your sake. Either you may be chaste or unchaste, I cannot take you back. You can go anywhere you like." told Rama.
Unable to hear those words, Sita fell on the ground. "O Rama! I will enter the sacred fire and prove my chastity. Please permit me" requested Sita.
With the permission of Rama, Sita entered sacred fire. The five elements, Earth, Fire, space, water and wind spoke with one voice "Rama! Sita is chaste and virtuous. You need not suspect her. We were around her all the time. We know the truth."
In the meanwhile, Brahma and other divine bodies arrived there. "Rama! You killed Ravana and rendered great help to mankind. Ravana was cursed by Nalakoobara if Ravana touches any lady against her wish, his head will be broken. Hence Ravana could not and did not touch Sita. You can receive her without any suspicion in your mind" said Brahma.
Brahma restored life to all the Vanaras who were killed in war and went away. Matali along with his chariot, Vaijayanti, went back to Devaloaka. Rama along with Sita and Lakshna went back to Ayodhya on Pushpaka.
O Dharmaja! Like you, Rama also experienced many woes in the forests and at last got back his king dom and was very happy. On completion of 13 years, you also will get back your king dom" said Saint Markandeya, the story of Rama.
On hearing the story of Rama and Sita with great devotion, Dharmaja praised the heroism of Rama and devotion of Sita towards her husband.
"O saint Markandeya! are there any other virtuous ladies who were so devotional towards to their husbands." asked Dharmaja.
Saint Markandeya began to tell the story of Savitri and Satyavanta to Dharmaja.
"In the ancient past, King Aswapati was ruling Madra Kingdom. He had no children. He worshipped Deity Savitree Devi for eighteen years with great devotion. Deity Savitri appeared before me and asked him to choose whatever he wants. King Aswapati humbly requested for a son. But Deity Savitri blessed him with a girl. Aswapati was dissatisfied.
"O mother Savitri! I worshipped you with great devotion. You have come. You should fulfil my wish." requested Aswapati.
"O King Aswapati! I discussed your matter with Lord Brahma. But he blessed you with a daughter. His decision is final. But you will beget 100 sons later. Be happy" so saying Deity Savitri Devi disappeared.
Later, King Aswapati begot a child. Aswapati named her as Savitri. After attaining marriageable age, King Aswapati was making arrangements to perform her marriage. But Savitri heard through her friends and others about Satyavanta son of Dyumatsena, king of Saalva Kingdom. Satyavanta was so handsome and virtuous youth. Savitri fell in love with him but due to shyness she did not express her love before others.
One day Saint Narada came down to King Aswapati. Savitri also bowed before him and stood by the side of her father.
"O King Asvapati! Why have you not performed the marriage of your daughter Savitri sofar?" asked Narada
Asvapati looked at his daughter. "Have you heard what Saint says? You choose any youth whom you wish. I will perform the marriage" said Asvapati.
"I heard about one youth, Satyavanta son of Salva King. I fixed him as my husband. Kindly perform my marriage with him. King Salva was exiled from his kingdom by his enemies and he is now living in forests. Still I will marry his son, Satyavanta" said Savitri.
King Aswapati enquired Saint Narada about the antecedents of Satyavanta.
King Asvapati was very much annoyed "See, my daughter! Satyavanta's life is very short. Kindly choose another king." said Asvapati.
"Mind is greatest of all. I loved Satyavanta in my mind. Whatever it may be, I will marry him and face the consequences." said Savitri with firm voice.
"O King Asvapati! your daughter is a virtuous lady. Her desire is irrevocable. Perform her marriage with Satyavanta. As a result of her acquiring Punya, Satyavanta may be immortal" said Narada and went away.
Accordingly Asvapati, along with his daughter Savitri went to Dyumatsena who was living in forests.
"King Dyumatsena! she is my daughter, Savitri, an educated and virtuous lady. She wants to marry your son, Satyavanta. Kindly receive her as your daughter-in-law" requested Asvapati.
"King Asvapati! we lost our kingdom and now living in forests. You daughter is a princess. How can she live in forests along with us." said Dyumatsena.
"O king Dyumatsena! All these riches and pleasures are not eternal. Today they will be with us. Tomorrow they will vanish. We should not worry for the sake of such riches. My daughter is not a kid. She took this decision after thinking for a long time. Please dont reject our offer" requested Asvapati.
Dyumatsena could not say "No". The marriage of Savitri and Satya vanta was performed. Savitri was serving her husband with greatest devotion. One year elapsed. Four days were left. Savitri observed Deeksha.
On the last day, she worshipped Deity Savitri. She served her husband and mother in law and father in law. Satyavanta told her that he was going into forest to fetch some fruits and fuel. Savitri followed him to forest.
After plucking some fruits, Satyavanta was cutting a dried tree for fuel. He felt some headache. He sat under the tree. Savitri put his head on her lap and serving him. Satyavanta lost consciousness.
Before Savitri, a mighty huge black divine personality, with a long rope in his hand, appeared.
"Oh Divine Personality! Who are you?" asked Savitri.
Savitri preserved and concealed the body of her husband in a shrub. She followed Yamadharma Raja in the same path as he was proceeding.
Yama looked at Savitri. "Why you are following me? Stop. Dont proceed. Go back. You cannot come along with me" said Yama.
"O Yama! The duty of a virtuous lady is to follow her husband. It is dharma. With your blessings and with my devotion towards my husband, is there any place where I cannot enter. In all paths, Dharma is highest. Virtuous people are the roots of Dharma. You are such a virtuous personality. I got your blessings. I should get all good things in my life. Without getting anything, how can I go back?" said Savitri.
Yama wondered about talking "Oh Savitri I am very much admired about your talking. Choose anything except your husband's life." said Yama.
"My father in law has no eye sight. Kindly restore his eye sight"
"O Yama! through mind, speech and deeds, not causing harm to others, showing kindness towards others, giving out moneys in charity, respecting elders are arya dharmas. You are embodiment of dharma. There is nothing not known to you. You are equal towards all. Hence you are called "Samavarti"." praised Savitri.
Yama was very much admired. "Savitri! your words are sweet and excellent. Again choose one more boon except your husband's life" said Yama.
"O Yamadharma Raja! The kingdom of my father in law was invaded by enemies. Kindly restore his kingdom." asked Savitri.
"Savitri! your desire will be fulfilled. Now you can go back" said Yama and began to proceed further. Still, Savitri did not leave him. She continued to follow Yama.
"O Yama Dharma Raja! as you are well aware, virtuous people will never leave their virtues in any great calamities and hardships. They will not have any illusion. Therefore, even in these circumstances, how can I leave my husband . It is not just and proper on my part as I have to follow Dharma" said Savitri.
"O Savitri! I am very much satisfied with your devotion towards your husband. Choose one more except your husband's life" said Yama.
"My father has no sons. Bless him with hundred sons" asked Savitri.
"Sure he will get one hundred sons. Atleast even now go back. You are very much tired. You cannot proceed further" said Yama
O Yama! for a virtuous lady, serving her husband with utmost devotion is her utmost duty. How can I get tired? Virtuous persons who are peforming Dharma are very rare. With their performance of Dharma, Sun and Moon are moving with great discipline. If we speak seven words with anybody, they are our friends and relatives. I have so far spoken many words with you. Now you are my relative. You must fulfil my desire." said Savitri.
"I am very much satisfied with your lovely words. Choose whatever you like" said Yama forgetting to add the suffix "except your husband'slife".
Savitri took advantage of that situation. "O Yama dharma rajaa,
so far you are saying "except your husband's life." This time
you did not tell. Now I will choose whatever I like. Without husband,
the life of wife is useless and horrible. She will not be called to any
auspicious functions. Hence, restore my husband's life imemdiately. This
is my final desire" said Savitri.
Savitri was very happy. Hurriedly she returned back to the place where she kept her husband's body. She kept her husband's head on her lap and prayed Yama. After some time, Satyavanta woke up as if he was waking from sleep.
"What Savitri! What happened to me. I slept for long time. You might have woken me up. In my sleep there was a dream in which I was dragged by some one. Is it true?" asked Satyavanta.
"I will tell you everything later. Now it is too late Your father and mother might be worrying about us. Let us go back to our home" said Savitri. Both of them went back to their Ashram by which time his father, Dyumatsena's eye sight was restored. He could his son and daughter in law.
"O my son and daughter-in-law! Where are you for such a long time after sun-set?" asked Dyumatsena.
Satyavanta told his father about his headache, his sleep and his dream in which he saw a huge and fearful personality. Then Savitri continued:
"As per the words of Narada, my husband will die today. Hence I followed him to forest. There he fainted and fell down. Yamadharma Raja came down to take the lives of my husband. While he was taking away the lives of my husband, I followed him. I praised him and got four boons One is to get back the lives of my husband, the second is to restore your eye sight. The third is to restore your kingdom and the last is to bless my father with 100 sons . In this way I could save my husband from death" said Savitri.
Dyumatsena praised Savitri with great admiration. Later, the friends of Dyumatsena arrived and informed him that his enemies quarrelled among themselves and died. Now the kingdom is waiting for his rule. Dyumatsena again became the king of Salva Kingdom and Satyavanta was incornated as Yuva Raja. Savitri enjoyed all kingly pleasures.
Dharmajaa! like Savitri, your wife Droupadi also bring back your pleasures and riches and kingdom." said Markandeya.
Now Janamejaya asked Saint Vaisampaayana about the story of Indra taking away Kavacha and Kundala of Karna. Vaisampayana continued to say.
"Pandavas almost completed their 12 years period of Vana Vasa. At that time, Indra, father of Arjuna, thought that he should do some help to Pandavas. As long as Karna had Kavaca and Kundala on his body, Arjuna cannot kill him. Hence he wanted to take away those Kavaca and Kundala by some means or other.
Soorya (sun god) the father of Karna, came to know about this plan. He came down to Karna in the attire of a Brahmin and told Karna while he was alone.
"Karna! To safeguard your interest and your life I will tell you a few words. Indra is intending to take away your Kavaca and Kundala. Those Kavaca and Kundala are immortal. As long as they are attached to your body, none will kill you. Dont be cheated by Devendra." said Sun God.
"I do not know who are you. Kindly reveal your identify" asked Karna.
"Karna! I am Soorya, sun god. I got love and affection upon you. Hence I have come down to caution you" said Soorya.
"O Deity Soorya! I worship brahmins and I will give away whatever
they want. If Devendra comes down in the attire of Brahmin and asks me,
I will give away even my life. These Kavaca and Kundala are nothing before
Devendra. If Devendra, in violation of Dharma, comes down to me in disguise,
it will spoil his fame. It will add another feather in my crown. Nothing
is more than name and fame in this world. It will safeguard us like mother.
All woes will encircle a defamed person. Fulfilling the wishes of Brahmins,
killing my mighty enemies, safeguarding refugees, not killing brahmins,
old and children are my vows. I cannot violate them. Even if Devendra
comes down and asks my Kavaca and Kundala, I will gladlygive them without
any hesitation" said Karna in firm voice.
"O Soorya! I am very much thankful to you, for your kind words. Dont be angry. I cannot violate my self- imposed discipline. Dont think that I cannot kill Arjuna. I got many Astras and Sastras given by Parasurama, Drona. They are not ordinary missiles, with the help of which I will kill Arjuna. Please dont think otherwise. Shower your blessings upon me" Karna bowed before Surya.
"Karna! if you decide to give away your Kavaca and Kundala to Indra, kindly do one thing. There is one weapon with Indra, called Sakti. Instead of Kavaca and Kundala, take Sakti from him. It will kill Arjuna." so saying, Surya went away.
Karna was waiting for the arrival of Devendra.
At this juncture, Janamejaya asked saint Vaisampaayana "O Saint! you told me that there was a divine secret about the birth of Karna. Kindly tell me" asked Janamejaya. Vaisampaayana continued to say:
"Kunti Devi, also called Prudha, was the daughter of King Kunti Bhoja. Prior to her marriage, one day, saint Doorvaasa visited their house. Doorvaasa expressed his intention to remain in his house for some time and asked Kuntibhoja to depute one person who can serve him obediently.
Kuntibhoja deputed his daughtger, Kunti to serve saint Doorvasa. Kunti was serving saint Doorvaasa with utmost obedience and devotion.
At times, Saint Doorvaasa used to test her. He will say that he will come early morning but arrives late in the night. Kunti waited for him late in the night and served him. Some times he will say that he will come in the evening but arrived much in advance. Kunti, without giving room for any complaint, served Doorvaasa with utmost devotion.
Saint Doorvaasa was very much satisfied. "Kunti! I am leaving your house tomorrow. I am very much satisfied with your services. Choose anything you like. I will bless you" asked Doorvaasa.
"Your kind words that you are satisfied with my humble service itself is sufficient I do not want anything more" replied Kunti humbly.
"No. I will give you something. Ok. Now I will tell you one Mantra. If you chant this Mantra and invite any divine body, he will be under your control and bless you. But you should invite that divine personality while you were alone" so saying Saint Doorvaasa told her one Mantra and went away.
One day, Kunti after taking holy bath, sat at a lonely place. She intended to test the Mantra given by Saint Doorvaasa. At that morning hour, sun was coming out on his golden chariot. She fell in love with him. Kunti chanted Mantra and desired to have a son resembling Sun God.
With the power of that Mantra, Sun God appeared before him in human form.
"O Kunti! I am Sun. With the power of Mantra chanted by you, I have come. I will do whatever you intended in your mind." said Sun God. Kunti was in utter confusion.
"Oh Sun God! You have got nothing to be done here. Out of idle curiosity, I invited you by chanting Mantra. I do not want anything. Kindly leave this place " prayed Kunti.
"Kunti! certainly I will leave this place but only after fulfilling your desire. Tell me frankly. You desired to have a son through me with natural Kavacha and Kundala like me. I will fulfill your desire, if you agree to have intercourse with me. You will beget a son. Otherwise, your parents will be killed. Besides that, I will also reduce that Saint Doorvasa to ashes, as he gave that Mantra to you without knowing about your capacity. Look at the heaven. All the divine bodies are laughting at me." said Sun God with anger.
"O Sun God! Without the permission of my parents how can I accept for intercourse with you. Childishly, with an intention to test that Mantra, I did like this. Kindly excuse me" prayed Kunti. But Sun God did not agree. Still Kunti tried to convince Sun God.
" An unmarried girl, only after marriage in the presence of her parents, relatives and frineds, will enjoy sensual plealsures with her husband. But having intercourse with some other person before marriage is not Dharma. Is it proper on your part, to force me, to resort to Adharma. You are well aware of every dharma. If you feel it just and proper to have intercourse with me, without the knowledge of my parents, you can do as you please. I will bear that defame." surrendered Kunti.
(Here Sun God enunciated one strange concept which is being adopted nowadays by the youth under the guise of "love affairs" and it is being propagated in the writings of great writers and in the movies also.)
"O virgin lady! Your parents or relatives are not fit or proper to give away yourself in marriage. You are the sole owner of your body. What is the meaning of " a kanya" (an unmarried girl). One who can fulfil her own desires either sensually or otherwise, is "Kanya". It is your personal affair. Hence, there is nothing wrong in fulfilling your sensual desires without the knowledge of your parents or elders. If it is unworthy and adharma, how I can I propse this. Your virginity or chastity will never be spoiled with your intercourse with me. You will never be defamed. You will beget a glorious son through me." so saying Sun God convinced Kunti and had an intercourse with her and made her pregnant.
Her pregnancy was growing day by day, month my month. The fact that Kunti was pregnant was known only to her servant maid and none else. One night, Kunti delivered a male child with natural Kavacha and Kundala, long hands, strong and shining body. Unable to bear the defame, Kunti kept that child in a box and kept it on a smallboat tied it securely and left it in the river Asva. She wept aloud for mercilessly leaving the child in the river.
That boat travelled in the river and entered CharmaNvati river and from there it entered River Yamuna. At last the box entered River Ganga. When that box reached Pampa City, one soota called Athiradha, a friend of King Dhrutarashtra, was bathing in the river along with his wife Radha. He saw the box. Immediately he sent his men to fetch the box. He opened the box and found a boy with strong and shining body with natural Kavacha and kundala. He gave the child tohis wife Radha
"God is great. He blessed us with this child as we are issueless. This child is not an ordinary child. He might have been born to divinebodies. We will look after this child as our own son" said Atiradha.
His wife Radha was very happy. She hugged the child with motherly affection. As the child was having natural ear rings, he was named as Karna. He was also named as Vasu Sena as he was shining with golden colour.
In that manner, Soorya Putra became Soota putra. Kunti was enquiring about the welfare of the child from time to time. She came to know that the child reached a safest place.
Karna was growing day by day like the moon in Sukla Paksha. He joined Dronacarya and Krupacarya for learning archery. He also approached Parasurama and learnt archery. Later Karna became the friend of Duryodhana. Because of the friendship with Duryodhana, he opposed Pandavas and became bitter enemy to them. In that manner, Indra intended to take away the Kavaca and Kundala from Karna to safeguard the interests of Pandavas, especially of Arjuna, who is no other than his son.
One day, Indra, in the attire of Brahmin, came down to Karna. At that time, Karna was worshipping Sun God with great devotion. After pooja, Karna was giving gold and money to Brahmins.
Indra stood before Karna and asked "Bikshaam Dehi" (give me alms).
"Choose whatever you want?" asked Karna.
"Give me your Kavaca and Kundala" asked Indra.
Karna realised that that Brahmin is no other than Indra.
"O Brahmin! These Kavaca and Kundala are of no use to you. Instead, you can ask gold, silvler, money, diamonds etc." said Karna.
"No I want Kavaca and Kundala" said Indra.
"O Brahmin! if you desire, I will give away my Anga Desa." said Karna testing Indra.
Indra said "No. I want Kavacha and Kundala".
"O Brahmin! I know you are Indra. You are divine bodies and immortals. We are mortals. We have to worship you for boons. But you have come down and asking me. What is this? Is it not strange?" asked Karna.
"Karna! Your father, Sun God, might have told everything to you. Hence you could recognise me. Any how, please give me your Kavacha and Kundala" asked Indira
"If you give your "Sakti" to me, I will give my Kavaca and Kundala" said Karna
"Sure I will gladly give you. But it is useful only once. Generally, if I use it, it will kill the object and return back to me. In the same manner, even if you use it, it will kill your enemy and will return back to me but not to you. So it is useful only once." explained Indra.
Karna smiled. "Indra, the only enemy of mine is Arjuna. If your Sakti kills him, it is sufficient. My wish will be fulfilled" said Karna.
"I know your desire. You want to kill Arjuna. As long as Krishna is by his side, you cannot kill him" said Indra.
"Leave it. Killing Arjuna is my affair. If I cut my Kavacha from my body, my body will be disfigured. What is the remedy for this?" asked Karna.
"You need not worry. Your body will always shine like your father, Soorya." said Indra.
Then Indra gave his "Sakti" to Karna. In return, Karna cut his body and part with his Kavacha and Kundala. After receiving them, Indra went away.
On hearing this, Kourvas felt sad and Pandavas were jubilant.
Janamejaya, in this manner, Indra took away Kavacha and Kundalas from Karna" told Vaisampaayana.
Vaisampaayana continued to tell the story of Maha Bharat to Janamejaya.
While Pandavas were spending their last year in the forests, one day, a poor Brahmin came running.
"O great men, I hanged my churning stick (AraNi) to the branch of a tree. One deer came there running. The arani hanging to the branch tucked to its horns. The deer ran away with the churning stick. Kindly bring back my churning stick to me" requested Brahmin.
Dharmaja and his four brothers, wearing bows and arrows, chased that deer. But none of the arrows hit the deer. They were tired and sat under a tree and taking rest.
"Brother Dharmaja! we were born in a highest race, learnt all Dharma Sastras, and we were kind enough towards others. Still, why we are stricken with all these woes." asked Nakula.
"Nakula! either joy or sorrow in life will happen only due to our deeds and none else." said Dharmaja
"Nakulaa! on that day when Praatigaami brought Droupadi to Sabha, had we killed the Kouravas, we would not have been stricken with all these woes." said Bheema.
"Brother Bheemaa! Not only that, the main reason is that we kept quiet as cowards and proceeded to forests, without cutting the toungue of Karna when he maligned us. Had we cut the head of Sakuni on that day itself, all these would not have happened." said Sahadeva.
"Nakulaa, for the present, all your brothers are thirsty, find out whether there is water in the vicinity" asked Dharmaja.
Nakula climbed a tree and found a small pond nearby and told the same to Dharmaja.
"You go there, drink, and bring some water for us also" asked Dharmaja.
Nakula went near that pond When he was about to drink water he heard a voice "This pond is mine. If you want to drink water, you have to answer my questions".
Nakula did not care for those words, drank the water, came out of the pond and fell on the ground unconscious.
As Nakula did not return for a long time, Dharmana sent Sahadeva to find out what happened. Sahadeva also went near the pond, and heard the same voice. "This pond is mine. Dont drink the water without answering my questions". Nakula also did not heed those words, drank water, and fell unconscious.
"Arjuna! what happened to your brothers who have gone to fetch water. Kindly find out" said Dharmaja.
Arjuna went near the pond and heard the same voice "If anybody drinks water in this pond, without answering my questions, he will become unconscious".
"Who is there? Who are you? Why you are talking invisible? I will kill you" so saying he released Sabdavedi from his bow. There was no response; instead the same voice again was heard. Arjuna did not care those words, entered the pond, drank water and fell down as usual unconscious.
As his three brothers did not return for a long time, Dharmaja was very much annoyed. He sent Bheema to find out the reason. Bheemaa also went near the pond, heard the same voice, drank the water and fell unconscious.
Dharmaja could not wait for a long time. He himself went near the pond. He saw all his four brothers in an unconscious state. He keenly observed the vicinity. He did not find any other foot prints except his four brothers and himself. The reason for their unconscious state is not known. He entertained a doubt whether the water is poisonous. But there are no such symptoms on their body.
Dharmaja entered the pond and touched the water. He heard a voice from heaven. "O Dharmaja! I am a crane. This pond is mine. Without heeding my words, your brothers drank the water and fell unconscious. If you also drink water, you will also meet the same fate. Therefore first answer my questions and then consume water".
"I do not know whether you are Rudra, Agni or Vayu Otherwise, my brothers would not have fallen unconscious. Who are you? What is your intention" asked Dharmaja.
"Dharmaja! I am an Yaksha. Your brothers did not care for my words and fell down" appeared Yaksha in human form.
"Anybody who drink water wihout my permission, however high he may be, he will fell down. You are wise hence you did not consume water. So, answer my questions." said Yaksha.
"Yaksha! I am too small to answer your questions. Anyhow, I will answer to the best of my knowledge" humbly answered Dharmaja.
Yaksha: Who is running sun god? Who is worshipping sun god? What is sun-set? What is the basis for sun god?
Dharmaja: Brahma is running sun god. Divine bodies are worshipping sun-god. Sun will set with Dharma. Truth is the basis for Sun
Yaksha: How a man will become Srotriya? How a man will attain miracles? Who will help him? How a man will become wise?
Dharmaja: By constant hearing, a man will become Srotriya, that means, by hearing, chanting and studying Vedas. (Sruta means hearing). By tapassu a man will attain miracles. His courage will always help a man. By serving wise and virtuous people, a man will become wise.
Yaksha: How a brahmin will attain divinity? How he will become humble? How he will become a bad character? How a brahmin will become a human?
Dharmaja: By chanting Vedas, a Brahmin will attain divinity. With great devotion he will get humbleness. If he loses his character, he will become bad. When a Brahmin did not observe cleanliness, with the fear of death, he will become human.
Yaksha: Who will be called Jeevanmrutha (one who is considered to be dead even he is alive).
Dharmaja: One who consumes food without offering the same to divine souls, guests, Pitaras (forefathers), and his servants working under him, is jeevanmrutha. His life is waste.
Yaksha: Which is heavier than earth"? What is longer than sky? Which goes faster than wind? Which grows more than grass?
Dharmaja: Mother is more heavier than earth. Father is longer than sky. Mind goes faster than wind. Mental agony grows faster than grass.
Yaksha: Which sleeps opening its eyes? Which does not move even after birth? Which does not think even though having a form. Which grows with speed?
Dharmaja: Fish sleeps opening its eyes. Egg does not move even after birth. Stone does not think even it has form. River grows faster by flowing speedily.
Yaksha: Who are the relatives for a traveller, patient, household and dead.
Dharmaja: Co-travellers for a traveller, good doctor for a patient, virtuous wife for household, the charity done by him while he was alive, for a dead person, are relatives.
Yaksha: On What Dharma depends? What is the basis for fame? What is the divine path? Which is the source for happiness?
Dharmaja: Dharma depends on compassion. Charity is the basis for fame. Truthfulness is the right path to attain divinity. Virtuous life is the source for eternal happiness.
Yaksha: Whcih is the soul for humanbeing? Who is a divine relative? Depending on which he lives? From which, humanbeing derives good qualities?
Dharmaja: Son is the soul for human-being. Wife is the godgiven relative. Human being lives depending on clouds. By charity, humanbeing derives good qualities.
Yaksha: Which is greatest Dharma of all? Which yields complete results? By leaving which we derive happiness? Friendship with whom will never spoil?
Dharmaja: Non-violence is the greatest dharma. Performing Yajnas and Yagas yields good results. By leaving egoism and pride, one derives happiness. Friendship with virtuous people will never spoil.
Yaksha: On whom the universe depends? By which food and water derive? What is poison? Which is the better time for performing ceremonies for ancestors.
Dharmaja: This universe depends on good and virtuous people. From clouds we derive food and water. Belongings of a brahmin are equivalent to poison. Whenever Brahmin arrives, ceremony should be performed.
Yaksha: By relinquishing which a person will be praised by one and all, one will be without sorrow, one will have riches and one will become happiest person.
Dharmaja: By leaving pride and arrogance, one will be praised by one all. He will never feel sad and sorrow. If one is not a miser, he willbe the richest person. By leaving greediness, one will become the happiest person.
Yaksha: Who is Purusha? Who is the richest person?
Dharmaja: One who gets name and fame is a Purusha. One who feels equally, the pleasure and sorrow, likes and dislikes, past and future, he will be the richest person.
Yaksha was very much satisfied with the answers given by Dharmaja.
"Dharmaja! you satisfied me with your apt and tactful answers. I want to restore the life of one of your brothers. Choose any one of your brothers" asked Yaksha.
"Please give away the life of Nakula" said Dharmaja.
"What? Leaving Bheema and Arjuna, why you have chosen Nakula?" asked yaksha.
"My father had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Myself, Bheema and Arjuna are the sons through Kunti, and Nakula and Sahadeva are the sons through Maadri. I am the eldest among the sons of Kunti, and Nakula is the eldest among the sons of Madri. Hence I have chosen his life, because it is Dharma" replied Dharmaja.
"O Dharmaja! I am very much satisfied with your righteousness. All your brothers will have rebirth." blessed Yaksha.
All the four brothers of Dharmaja woke up as if from sleep.
"O Great Yaksha! you are not an ordinary divine body. Kindly reveal me who are you?" prayed Dharmaja.
"Dharmaja! I am Yamadharma Raja. Your father. I want to see you. Hence I have come. I am the embodiment of truth, cleanliness, charity, tapassu, fame and wisdom. By observing the above virtues, one will never become a bad character. Choose whatever you like?" asked Yamadharma Raja.
"Yama Dharma Raja! a deer has taken away the churning shaft of a brahmin. Inspite of our best efforts we could not find the deer. Kindly restore the churning shaft to the brahmin" requested Dharmaja.
"Dharmaja! I am the same deer. Take this churning shaft and restore it to that Brahmin" Yama returned back the churning shaft.
"Dharmaja! all of you completed 12 years of aranya vaasa. The remaing one year you have to spend unrecognised by your enemies. I bless you with a boon. In that one year, whatever form you choose, you will have that form and you will not be recognised by any one. Choose some other boon I will give you" said Yama dharma raja.
"You are the super divine power. You are before me. What more can I ask? Kindly bless me that my mind will never transgress the right path and anger and delusion will never influence me in any manner.
Yamadharma accordingly blessed Dharmaja and disappeared.
Pandavas returned back to their Ashram and gave back the churning shaft to the Brahmin and had his blessings.
In this manner, Saint Vaisampaayana told Janamejaya the story of Mahabharat, that Pandavas and Droupadi completed the twelve years of forest life" told Sooti (the story teller) to Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints gathered in Naimisaaranya on the occasion of performing Satra yaaga.
Maha Bharat – Aranya Parva – Saptamaasvaasa –
With this chapter, the entire Aranya Parva